University High and Zachary went toe-to-toe like the basketball powerhouses they are, but the Cubs made the big plays down the stretch to take a 54-49 victory Tuesday at the U-High gym.
Collin Coates scored a pair of baskets in the final 1:08 to break a 49-all tie and teammate Brock Brown iced the game with a free throw as the Cubs improved to 14-2. Defenisvely, U-High forced back-to-back turnovers before the Coates baskets. Coates finished with 18 points.
“I thought both teams played well defensively, but we made some plays down the stretch,” University High coach Joe Spencer said. “Our defensive pressure gave us a lot of opportunities, especially early in the game.
“Collin did a good job at crunch time. We’ve got four guys who average in double figures, and we were able to do what we needed to.”
Coates led all scorers with 14 points,Brock Brown had 13 and Zaren James 10, all in the second half.
Brandon Rodgers and Jalen Bolden had 13 points each for Zachary (12-3). Jordan DeCuir struggled with foul trouble but had six of his nine points in the second half.
The game featured five ties and eight lead changes with the largest lead six points by U-High, 44-38, on a pair of free throws by James midway through the fourth quarter.
But Zachary fought back behind DeCuir’s free-throw shooting and tied the game when Rodgers drove the baseline for a basket and added a free throw when he was fouled on the play. Zachary had a chance to take the lead moments later but a turnover led to a Coates inside basket with 1:08 to play.
Zachary pushed the ball upcourt but another turnover led to a breakaway layup by Coatees on a nice pass from Brown with 46 seconds left.
“We had our chances,” Zachary coach Jon McClinton said. “In late game situations, you have to convert. The turnovers at a clutch time hurt. We have to at least get a shot off. Both teams played well defensively, but we didn’t do a good job of keeping them out of the paint.”
Zachary trailed most of the game and played part of the second quarter and all of the third without DeCuir. The Broncos shot 50 percent in the first half (10 of 20) but trailed 26-24 at halftime thanks to 10 turnovers. They went to a full-court press in the second quarter and rallied from a five point deficit for a 24-23 lead on a DeCuir basket.
University missed its first five shots of the second half, but Zachary couldn’t capitalize. Brown got his team going hitting three of the next four shots.
“We did a good job against their press and our senior guards (Bryce and Brock Brown) had a lot to do with that, plus we have some other guards who can play off the bench,” Spencer said. “We’r playing pretty well overall right now.”